Philosophical Self-Portrait: Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

Philosophical Self-Portrait: Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira
Philosophical Self-Portrait: Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

I am a convinced Thomist. The aspect of philosophy that most attracts me is the philosophy of history. In view of this I find the connection between the two kinds of activity to which I have dedicated my life: study and action.

I have exercised the latter in a very defined field, the diffusion of doctrine, carried out sometimes in the manner of dialogue, other times — and I say this readily, anachronistic as the thing and the word may seem — with polemics.

The book Revolution and Counter-Revolution, in which I condense the essential elements of my thought, explains my ideological orientation.

Religion and Philosophy Move History

One of this book’s presuppositions is that the course of history, contrary to the claims of so many philosophers and sociologists, is not traced exclusively or preponderantly by the dictates of matter over men. Without a doubt, these have their influence in human action, but the direction of history belongs to men, endowed as they are with free and rational souls. In other words, it is they who direct the course of events, acting more or less profoundly over the circumstances in which they find themselves and receiving in variable measure the influences of these same circumstances.

Now, human action normally takes place in accordance with man’s view of the universe, of himself, and of life. That amounts to saying that religious and philosophical doctrines dominate history, that the most dynamic nucleus of the factors that transform history is found in the successive attitudes of the human spirit in face of religion and philosophy.

Christian Civilization – Entire Consonance with Natural and Divine Law

From this I pass to another presupposition of Revolution and Counter-Revolution. A Catholic view of history must above all take into account that both the Old Law and the New, of themselves, contain not only the precepts by which man should model his soul in order to become like unto God, thus preparing himself for the Beatific Vision, but also the fundamental norms of human conduct in conformity with the natural order of things.

Thus, while man advances in the life of grace by the practice of virtue, at the same time he elaborates a culture — a political, social, and economic order — in entire consonance with the basic and perennial principles of Natural Law. This is what is called Christian civilization.

Obviously, the good arrangement of earthly things is not exclusively composed of these basic and perennial principles. It also comprises much that is contingent, transitory, and free. Christian civilization embraces an incalculable variety of aspects and nuances. This is so true that, from a certain point of view, one can speak not just of Christian civilization but of Christian civilizations. Nevertheless, given the identity of the fundamental principles inherent to all Christian civilizations, the great reality hovering above them all is a powerful unity, which merits the name Christian civilization through antonomasia. Unity in variety and variety in unity are elements of perfection. Christian civilization remains one in all the variety of its realizations, so it can be said that, in the most profound sense, there is just one Christian civilization. But it varies so prodigiously in its unity that a legitimate freedom of expression permits the affirmation that there exist various Christian civilizations.

Eternal and Natural Law: The Foundation of Morals and Law

Given this clarification — analogously applicable to the concept of Catholic culture — I will employ the expressions Christian civilization and Christian culture in their “major” sense, that of unity.

I dispense myself from referring those assertions to texts of Saint Thomas or the Magisterium of the Church, these being so numerous and so well known by those who seriously study the subjects that the work would become, at one and the same time, tedious and superfluous. This observation likewise applies to other considerations that will follow.

On the basis of these presuppositions it is easy to define the role of the Church and Christian civilization in history.

Nations Attain Perfect Civilization Only By Corresponding to Grace and to the Faith

While man can with firm certainty and without contamination of error know that which in divine things is not per se inaccessible to human reason, it is impossible for him, because of Original Sin, to durably follow the Law of God. This is possible only by means of grace. Even so, in order to safeguard man against his own malice and weakness, Jesus Christ endowed the Church with an infallible Magisterium that unerringly teaches man not only the religious but also the moral truths necessary for salvation. Man’s adhesion to the Magisterium of the Church is a fruit of Faith. Without Faith man can neither enduringly nor entirely know or keep the Commandments. Thus, nations can attain perfect civilization, which is Christian civilization, only by corresponding to grace and Faith, which includes a firm recognition of the Catholic Church as the one true Church and of the Ecclesiastical Magisterium as infallible.

History’s most profound and central point thus consists in knowing, professing, and practicing the Catholic Faith.

Evidently, in saying this I do not deny that there have been elevated aspects in non-Christian civilizations. However, all of these civilizations were disfigured by one or another trait shockingly divergent from the very elevation they displayed in other aspects. It is enough to remember the great extent of slavery and the vile condition imposed upon women before the advent of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Never has a civilization displayed the eminent perfection inherent to Christian civilization.

Likewise, I do not contest that civilization may contain important traces of Christian tradition in countries where the population is preponderantly schismatic or heretical. Only with the Catholic Church, however, can Christian civilization blossom in its plenitude, and only in Catholic peoples can it be perfectly maintained.

“There Was a Time When the Philosophy of the Gospels Governed the States…”

Someone might ask when, historically, did this perfect Christian civilization exist? Is this perfection attainable in this life?

My response will shock and irritate many readers. Nevertheless, I affirm that there was a time in which a large part of humanity knew the ideal of perfection and fervently and sincerely tended toward it. In consequence of that tendency of the souls, the fundamental traits of civilization became as Christian as the circumstances of a world slowly raising itself out of barbarism permitted. I refer to the Middle Ages, of which, despite this or that defect, Leo XIII eloquently wrote:

Eucharistic Procession through countryside
“Then it was that the power and divine virtue of Christian wisdom
had permeated the laws, institutions, and customs of the people.”

There was once a time when the philosophy of the Gospels governed the states. Then it was that the power and divine virtue of Christian wisdom had permeated the laws, institutions, and customs of the people; imbuing all ranks and relations of civil society. Then, too, the religion instituted by Jesus Christ, firmly established in befitting dignity, flourished everywhere thanks to the favor of princes and the legitimate protection of magistrates. Then the Priesthood and the Empire were happily united in concord and friendly interchange of good offices. So organized, civil society bore fruits beyond all expectation, whose remembrance is still, and always will be, in renown, registered as it is in innumerable documents that no artifice of the adversaries can destroy or obscure. (Encyclical Immortale Dei, November 1, 1885).

A Monument Raised from a Ruin, an Institution from a Custom

This manner of seeing the fullness of the Church’s influence in the Middle Ages is also found in the following text of Paul VI, referring to the role of the Papacy in Medieval Italy:

Let us not forget the centuries during which the Papacy lived in [Italy’s] history, defended its frontiers, guarded its cultural and spiritual patrimony, educated its offspring for civilization, elegance of manners, and moral and social virtue, and united its Roman conscience and best sons to the very universal mission [of the Papacy]…” (Allocution to the President of the Italian Republic, January 11, 1964).

Thus, Christian civilization is not utopian. It is something possible and, in a determined epoch, effectively achieved. Finally, it is something that in a certain manner endured even after the Middle Ages, to such a point that Pope St. Pius X could write:

Civilization has not yet to be founded, nor has the new State to be built in the clouds. It existed and exists; it is Christian civilization; it is the Catholic City. The only question is that of reestablishing it and restoring it without delay on its natural and divine foundations against the continually repeated attacks of the wicked utopia of revolution and impiety (Apostolic letter Notre Charge Apostolique, August 25, 1910).

Therefore, Christian civilization has ample, living vestiges even in our days.

Crises Arise from Disordered Passions Inflamed by the Powers of Darkness

Some may imagine that all the crises of culture and civilization are necessarily born of some thinker, from whose vigorous mind issues the clarifying — or destructive — spark that, first spreads in the ambiences of high culture and afterwards reaches the entire social body. Clearly, some crises are born in this way, but history does not attest that all were thus born. In particular, the crisis that precipitated the decline of the Middle Ages and gave rise to Humanism, the Renaissance, and the Protestant pseudo-reformation did not originate this way.

The influence of the Church over every soul, every people, every culture, and every civilization is continually threatened by the very fact that she asks of men an austerity of customs that decadent human nature finds arduous. The disorderly passions, inflamed by the preternatural action of the Powers of Darkness, continually incite men and nations toward evil. These tendencies exploit the debility of the human intelligence. Man easily invents sophisms to justify the evil actions he wants to practice or is already practicing, or the evil customs he already has or is acquiring. As Paul Bourget wrote, “It is necessary to live as one thinks, under the pain of, sooner or later, thinking as one has lived” (Le Démon du Midi).

The Weight of Pride and Sensuality in the Revolt Against the Church

Two passions in particular, pride and sensuality, foment revolt against Christian Morals and Faith.

Pride leads man to reject any superiority in another and generates in him an appetite for preeminence and command that easily leads to a paroxysm. This paroxysm is the end towards which all disorders tend. At its apex, pride takes on various metaphysical hues: No longer content with shaking off this or that specific superiority or hierarchical structure, the proud person desires the abolition of any and every superiority in whatever field it may exist. Therefore, he imagines that only omnifarious and complete equality are endurable and, for that very reason, the supreme maxim of justice. Pride thus ends up engendering its own morality, at the heart of which is a metaphysical principle: The order of being requires equality, and all inequality is ontologically bad. For what I would call “integral pride,” absolute equality is the supreme value to which everything must conform.

Sensuality is another disordered passion of decisive importance in the process of revolt against the Church. Of itself, it leads to shamelessness, inviting man to trample every law underfoot and to reject every restraint as unendurable. Its effects are added to those of pride in order to occasion in the human mind all kinds of sophisms capable of undermining the very heart of the principle of authority.

The tendency that pride and sensuality awaken aims at abolishing all inequality, authority, and hierarchy.

Faith Leads to Love of Hierarchy; Corruption, to Anarchical Egalitarianism

Clearly, these disordered passions, even when one gives in to them, can encounter in a soul — or in the spirit of a people — counterbalances posed by convictions, traditions, and the like. In that case, the soul — or the mentality of the people — becomes divided between two opposing poles: on one side, the Faith, inviting it to austerity, to humility, and to the love of all legitimate hierarchies; and on the other side, corruption, inviting it to complete egalitarianism, “anarchical” in the etymological sense of the word. As we will see a bit further on, corruption eventually leads to religious doubt and complete denial of the Faith.

The option for one or the other of these poles is not usually made from one moment to the next, but rather little by little. By means of successive acts of love for truth and good, a person or a nation can progress gradually in virtue and even be completely converted. This is what took place with the Roman Empire under the influence of the Christian communities, the prayers of the faithful in the catacombs and deserts, the heroism they displayed in the arena, and the examples of virtue they gave in everyday life. It is a process of ascension.

The process can also be one of decadence. With the impact of the disordered passions, good convictions are shaken, good traditions lose their lifeblood, good customs are replaced by risqué customs that degenerate to the point of being frankly censurable and eventually scandalous.

Professor Corrêa de Oliveira
Professor Corrêa de Oliveira speaking in Rio de Janeiro against land reform in the early 1960’s.

Principal Doctrinal Elements of Revolution and Counter-Revolution

All this being said, I recapitulate here the principle doctrinal elements on which I based Revolution and Counter-Revolution:

a) the mission of the Church as the only master, guide, and fount of life of the peoples advancing toward the perfect civilization;

b) the continuous opposition of the disordered passions, especially pride and sensuality, to the influence of the Church;

c) the existence of two opposing poles in the human spirit, towards one of which it necessarily heads: on one side, the Catholic Faith, which instills love for order, austerity, and hierarchy; on the other, the disordered passions, which provoke immodesty and revolts against law, hierarchy, and any form of inequality, and which finally lead to doubt and entire denial of the Faith;

d) the notion of a process — the expression understood without prejudice to the free will — by which individuals or peoples, feeling the attraction of the two opposing poles, gradually draw nearer one and away from the other.

e) the influence of this moral process over the development of doctrines. Bad tendencies incline toward error, good tendencies toward truth. The great modifications of the spirit of peoples are not the mere result of doctrines elaborated by small retreats of intellectuals serenely elucubrating at the margins of society. For a doctrine to find resonance in a people it is usually necessary that that people have an affinity for the doctrine. And it is not rare that the very lucubrations made by the learned in their studies is influenced more than one thinks by these appetites for the ambience in which they themselves live.

Some Fundamental Definitions

Having all this in sight, it is easy to define the fundamental concepts of Order, Revolution, and Counter-Revolution:

1) Order: not only the methodical and practical disposition of material things but, corresponding to the Thomist concept, the upright disposition of things according to their proximate and remote physical, metaphysical, natural, and supernatural end;

2) Revolution: not essentially a riot in the streets, a volley of gunfire, or a civil war, but every effort that aims to dispose beings against Order;

3) Counter-Revolution: every effort that aims to circumscribe and eliminate the Revolution.

Revolutions A and B

As one can see, Order, just as the Revolution and the Counter-Revolution, can exist in a) tendencies; b) ideas; c) laws, structures, institutions, and customs.

Thus, we call the Revolution “tendential” while it exists in the tendencies, and “sophistic” when it develops itself in the terrain of doctrines, under the influence of the tendencies.

These two modalities of the Revolution constitute an eminently spiritual phenomenon; that is, they have the human soul and the mentality of societies as their field of operation. They form a whole that we call “Revolution A.”

When the Revolution passes from the interior of souls to acts, producing historical convulsions, disordering laws, structures, institutions, and so forth, it constitutes what we call “Revolution B.”

Evidently, these notions, here presented with utmost brevity, demand a series of qualification and adaptations that I expound in Revolution and Counter-Revolution and that are impossible to explain here.

I limit myself to clarifying that in delineating what is most essential in history in these matters, I do not claim that history is reduced to this. The most elementary observation indicates that innumerable factors, including ethnic, geographic, and economic ones, powerfully condition the course of history.

The Egalitarian Will Have Ardent Objections Against the Faith

There remains a word to be said about the nexus between absolute and metaphysical egalitarianism and the Faith. One who is radically egalitarian will necessarily have innumerable objections against Catholic doctrine. He will object to the concepts of a personal, perfect, and eternal God, hovering infinitely above His imperfect and contingent creatures; of the Law promulgated by God, which it is necessary to obey; of Revelation, which imparts truths beyond the human mind’s natural capacity of knowing; of the infallible Magisterium of the Church; of the monarchical and aristocratic structure of the Church. Everything, after all, even the notion of a judgment that will reward the good and chastise the evil, irritates the egalitarian and tempts him to defiance.

On the other hand, the Catholic learns from Saint Thomas (Summa Theoligica, I, q. 47, a.2) that inequality is a prerequisite for the perfection of created order. And in consequence, the inequalities of power, science, social class, and fortune are intrinsically legitimate and indispensable to good order, so long as they are not accentuated to the point of denying the dignity and the sufficiency and stability of life that is each one’s right by virtue of his being a man, by his work, and so forth.


Luther, Danton, Lenin, key figures in the Three Revolutions.

The First Revolution: Humanism, Renaissance, Protestantism

This said, we encounter the profound sense of the sophistic Revolution developed in plan “A” and that of Revolution B, which took place in fifteenth-century Europe in consequence of the preceding tendential Revolution A.

The decline of the Middle Ages was marked by an explosion of pride and sensuality. That explosion generated egalitarian and liberal tendencies that did nothing but progress in the subsequent centuries.

Because of this, in Humanism and the Renaissance we find hostility towards the supernatural, the Magisterium of the Church, and customs. In Protestantism we find free examination; minimalism in the face of the supernatural; the acceptance of divorce; the abolition of the religious state and the submission expressed in the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience; and the virtual elimination of ecclesiastical hierarchy. Of course, an ecclesiastical status exists in almost all the Protestant sects, but the clear and profound difference between the clergy and the laity that exists in the Catholic Church was debilitated within them in accordance with their understanding of the priesthood. Furthermore, the hierarchical structure of the ecclesiastical state as it exists in the Church was also profoundly mutilated in the Protestant sects by their denial of the monarchical element, the Papacy. If among Anglicans the egalitarian tendency did not abolish the episcopal dignity, already among the Presbyterians there are no dignitaries entitled “bishops,” but only “presbyters.” In other sects the flurry of egalitarianism came to the point of abolishing even the class of “priest.”

The Church Cannot Change Her Hierarchical Structure Instituted by Christ

In emphasizing the liberal and egalitarian factor in Humanism, the Renaissance, and Protestantism, I clearly do not claim to deny that other causes may have contributed to the generation and expansion of these movements. I say only that in origin, psychology, doctrines, and in what we would call today the successful propagation and realization of these movements, tendential Revolution A, in a radically anarchical and egalitarian sense, played the role of the main force.

I also do not mean to affirm that this main force acted only in those countries that separated themselves from the Church. The Renaissance and Humanism blew with all intensity even in the Catholic world. And even though tendential Revolution A did not manage to cause their formal rupture with the Church, it still awakened within them larval forms of Protestantism, principally Jansenism. This produced a progressive religious cooling, which culminated in skepticism. An attentive study of royal absolutism, which in no Protestant country was more radical than in Catholic France, shows that the politics of the absolutist monarchs, in everything that did not pertain to their own authority, was marked by a certain egalitarian spirit. The progressive reduction of the privileges of the clergy and the nobility by the absolutist monarchs moved toward a political leveling of all citizens under the power of the State. The continual favor of the kings for the most active and developed part of the plebeian class, the bourgeoisie, contributed even more towards political equality.

The Second Revolution: Encyclopedism, Absolutism, the French Revolution

The corruption of customs, growing since the end of the Middle Ages, attained in the eighteenth century a degree that frightened even some of the leaders of this school of thought.

French society, swollen with the factors that had produced Protestantism in the Nordic countries, prepared itself through Encyclopedism and Absolutism for a profound convulsion that would be nothing other than the projection into the religious, philosophical, political, social, and economic sphere of the essence of Protestantism.Revolution and Counter-Revolution by Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

FREE READ: Revolution and Counter-Revolution

Thus, at the end of the eighteenth century, Protestantism, already aged and tired, showed itself lacking force of expansion, undermined from within by growing doubt and skepticism, yet maintaining a vestige of life thanks principally to the State, while in France the liberal and egalitarian tendencies attained an apex. Humanism and the Renaissance had been dead for some time, and everything was exhausted in Protestantism. But that which was most dynamic and fundamental in these three movements — the spirit that occasioned them — survived them and was stronger than ever. This spirit would necessarily precipitate France, and afterwards Europe in its entirety, into a liberal and egalitarian cataclysm. The French Revolution was marked in such a way by the spirit of Protestantism that the constitutional church it organized was nothing save a poorly veiled instrument for the implantation of actual Protestantism in France. The egalitarian, anti-monarchical, and anti-aristocratic orientation of the French Revolution is the projection in the civic sphere of the egalitarian tendency that led Protestantism to reject the aristocratic and monarchical elements of the ecclesiastical hierarchy. The communist ferment that worked the extreme left of the Revolution and eventually made itself explicit in such movements as that of Babeuf, was nothing save the secular analogy of the communist movements, like the Moravian Brotherhood, that produced what could be called the Protestant extreme left. The effects of Humanism, the Renaissance, and Encyclopedism in the French Revolution were evident in the complete secularization of the State, the Greco-Roman masquerade, and the continual evocation of the republics of classical paganism.

It behooves me to insist that Protestantism, Humanism, and the Renaissance were nothing save aspects that the spirit of anarchy and egalitarianism assumed in its long historical trajectory.

These aspects died in part because the spirit that occasioned them, destructive par excellence, had destroyed them in their very center. The French Revolution was nothing more than a new and even more energetic aspect of this same spirit.

The French Revolution Spread Through Europe in the Rucksacks of Napoleon’s Troops

Through well-known historical vicissitudes, the French Revolution, although apparently ending with the establishment of the Empire, spread throughout all of Europe, carried in the rucksacks of Napoleon’s troops. The wars and revolutions marking the period from 1814 to 1918 — that is, from the fall of Napoleon to the fall of the Habsburgs, Romanovs, and Hohenzollerns — were an ensemble of convulsions that transformed all Europe according to the spirit of the French Revolution. The Second World War did nothing save accentuate this transformation. Only a half-dozen of the ancient European monarchies remain today — all of them too timid to assert themselves and so docile in permitting themselves to be increasingly formed by the republican spirit as to give the impression that at any moment they are going to ask pardon for still existing.

In making these observations by no means do I affirm that there were no royal abuses needing correction in the structures destroyed. Nor do I wish to say that adoption of an elective and popular form of government can result only from the egalitarian and liberal spirit we have been analyzing. This would be neither doctrinally true nor historically justified. The Middle Ages had various aristocratic political structures, if not monarchical, such as the Republic of Venice, and various structures with neither monarchical nor aristocratic character, such as diverse Swiss cantons and the German free cities. All these forms of government lived pacifically among themselves, for they understood the legitimate diversity in forms of government according to time, place, and other circumstances.

The Equality Myth, a Founding Legend

The Revolution that exploded at the end of the Middle Ages was moved by a spirit differing completely from that which had led to the formation of the aristocratic or bourgeois states of Medieval Europe. This spirit amounted to the affirmation of complete equality and absolute and anarchic liberty as the sole maxims of order and justice, valid for all times and places.

In its turn, this spirit undermined the politically egalitarian bourgeois society it had spawned, and at last, under the most audacious of its affirmations, eventually flared up in the third great revolution of the West, the communist revolution.

The Principles of 1789 — Towards Complete Liberty and Equality

In the Declaration of the Rights of Man — the Magna Carta of both the French Revolution and the historical era it inaugurated — the egalitarian thesis expressed itself in all its nakedness: “Men are born and remain free and equal in their rights.”

Clearly, this principle is susceptible of good interpretation. Men, by nature, are fundamentally equal. It is only in accidents that men are unequal. At the same time, being endowed with a spiritual soul, and therefore with intelligence and will, they are fundamentally free. This liberty is limited only by Natural and Divine Law and by the power of the diverse spiritual and temporal authorities to which men must submit.

No one can deny that in every epoch there have been rulers who violated this fundamental equality and liberty. In response, throughout history there have been various defensive movements against excessive authority, seeking to confine it within its just limits. Such movements, limited to this objective, unquestionably merit applause. Properly understood, equality and liberty are as worthwhile recalling in the eighteenth century as in any other epoch.

It is quite certain that among the first revolutionaries in 1789 there were persons who desired nothing save a just restraint of the public power and who understood the liberty and equality promulgated in the Declaration of the Rights of Man in their most favorable sense.

But the text of the famous Declaration was excessively general, affirming equality and liberty without noting any restriction. This favored a broad and adverse interpretation: absolute and universal equality and liberty.

Prophecies of Our Lady of Good Success About Our TimesLearn All About the Prophecies of Our Lady of Good Success About Our Times

Well understood, this interpretation corresponded to the spirit of the nascent Revolution. Throughout its course it rid itself of any partisan not in communion with this spirit. The persecution of the nobles and the clergy was followed by that of the bourgeois. Only the manual laborers were to remain.

With the end of the Terror, the bourgeoisie, wishing to eliminate the former privileged classes throughout Europe, continued to affirm the “immortal principles” of 1789. They did so in an ambiguous and imprudent manner, having no doubt about arousing the tendency towards complete equality and liberty among the masses and obtaining their support in the fight against royalty, aristocracy, and clergy.

This imprudence greatly facilitated the explosion of the movement that would necessarily place the power of the bourgeoisie in check, for if all men are free and equal, by what right do the rich exist? By what right do children inherit, without working, the goods of their parents?

Utopian Communism Proclaims Bourgeoisie Politics a Farce Without Economic Equality

Even before industrialization had formed great concentrations of malnourished proletarians, utopian communism had already proclaimed the political equality instituted by the bourgeoisie a sham and demanded absolute social and economic equality. Anarchism, dreaming of a society without authority, spread. These radical principles, which had a restricted number of militants in the phase of utopian communism, still attained a prodigious diffusion in the West. Little by little they undermined the mentality of numerous monarchs, as well as civil and ecclesiastical rulers and persons of note, instilling in a great number of the beneficiaries of the existing order a certain sympathy for the “generosity” of libertarian and egalitarian ideas and a “guilty conscience” about the legitimacy of their own vested powers.

As I see it, Karl Marx’s great accomplishment was not the elaboration of so-called scientific communism, a confused and indigestible doctrine known to few. Marxism is as unknown by the communist bases and public opinion of our days as the thoughts of Plotinus and Averroës. What Marx did manage, however, was to unleash the worldwide communist offensive by uniting the adepts of a radically egalitarian and anarchic tendency, entirely inspired by utopian communism.

In other words, if the Marxist leaders themselves, in greater or lesser measure, are imbued with Marx, the privates under their command are generally incapable of knowing the doctrine. What moves them and unites them around their leaders are vague ideas of equality and justice, inspired by utopian communism. And if the Marxist gangs encounter an aura of sympathy in certain zones of public opinion, they owe it to the almost universal radiation of the egalitarian principles of the French Revolution and the romantic sentimentalism inherent to utopian socialism.

Egalitarian and Anarchical Substratum Remains Influential

The principal cause of the chaos in which the West founders and towards which it leads the rest of the world stands out among these considerations. This cause is the very generalized acceptance of the tendencies and doctrines of an egalitarian and anarchic substratum which, entirely out of fashion in properly intellectual circles, still profoundly influences public opinion. And it also continues to serve the communists as bait for luring, in certain past and present political circumstances, the multitudes with which they intend to raze the last vestiges of sacrality and hierarchy.

All this is not to affirm that the thought of Proudhon and his congeners still constitutes the great ideological lever of contemporary events. The utopians are dead, and in our days almost no one thinks of them. They were nothing more than a step in the great trajectory that originated in the ideological and cultural movements of the sixteenth century. They contributed in giving universal scope to the aspirations of the socio-economic leveling that the French Revolution contained only in germ. These aspirations of total economic and social leveling, for which the utopians were only loudspeakers, echoed everywhere. Long after they and their works have fallen into oblivion, this echo reverberates in history.

Therefore, if we want to check the process that is leading to the new, looming catastrophe, we must principally refute the tragic doctrinal error that identifies absolute equality with absolute justice, and true liberty — to which Truth and Good are entitled — with the free course and even the favoring of every error and irregularity. This leads us to consider the Counter-Revolution.

Philosophical Self-Portrait: Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira
Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira devoted all his writings and lectures to explaining themes related to the Revolution and the Counter-Revolution, and all his actions to opposing the former and fostering the latter.

The Counter-Revolution Must Point out the Revolution’s Fundamental Errors

Throughout the last centuries, many movements have raised themselves up against the revolutionary process, but their concrete success was transitory and at times null. Not that these movements lacked the support of brilliant talents, of well-placed people, or even of large sectors of the public. Though they occasionally called attention to the most profound and metaphysically important errors, more often than not, these movements limited themselves to fighting the Revolution in one or another of its religious, political, social, or economic manifestations. As a result, the Revolution continued safe and sound on its course.

In order to deter it, others judged it more fitting to use their language and expertise to fight against some of the very abuses the Revolution itself denounced. Now, to combat abuses is always meritorious, but how naive to imagine that the strength of the Revolution is primarily in the indignation aroused by certain abuses it cried out against! History proves the fallacy of this tactic. Some abuses that existed even centuries ago in Europe were rectified in such a way that Pius XII could say to the Katho-likentag of Vienna: “In our days there appears before the gaze of the Church the first epoch of contemporary social struggles. The heart of this epoch is dominated by the question of the worker: the misery of the proletariat and the duty of raising this class of men, left defenseless amid the uncertainties of economic circumstances, up to the dignity of the other classes of the city, which are gifted with necessary rights.

Nowadays, this problem can be considered as having been resolved, at least in its essential parts, and the Catholic world contributed towards this solution in a loyal and efficacious manner” (Pius XII, Radiomessage to the Catholics’ Day of Vienna, September 14, 1952). Meanwhile, the Revolution continues to roar, more menacing than ever.

Three Reasons the Church’s Enemies Hate the Immaculate Conception

Thus, without denying the meritorious character of so many past and present movements of counter-revolutionary orientation and without denying what is meritorious in the struggle against the injustices caused by the present order of things, it seems to me that the great necessity of the moment is to point out the fundamental metaphysical errors of the Revolution and the intimate cohesion of the three billowing waves that threw themselves successively against Western Christianity: in a first step, Humanism, the Renaissance, and the Protestant pseudo-reformation; later, the French Revolution; and finally, Communism.

Revolution and Counter-Revolution’s most remarkable effect was to have inspired the creation of the Brazilian Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property – TFP, and outside Brazil, the foundation of similar and autonomous organizations flourishing today in almost all major Western nations and other continents. Bureaux representing the TFPs also exist in several countries, thus projecting the doctrinal principles and the ideals of Revolution and Counter-Revolution throughout 26 countries.[1]

The Venezuelan TFP was arbitrarily closed in 1984 by an evil decree of that country’s government. Its members continued to serve the same ideals in other countries’ TFPs.

A definitive judicial ruling issued on May 15, 1986, declared the accusations against the Venezuelan TFP unfounded, amply recognizing the association’s innocence.

TFP associations are a great family of souls formed around Revolution and Counter-Revolution.

Marxist theorists announce an internal transformation of communism: the collapse of the state and the emergence of a cooperative society.

In 1976, I added a third part to Revolution and Counter-Revolution[2] to update the international panorama as the Revolution shaped it in the roughly twenty years that elapsed since the work’s launching. It makes it easy for our readers to understand the new reality.

The Third Revolution—the communist one—had reached a paradoxical apex and crisis. Apex because communism effectively dominated an extensive area and influenced the West through a massive coalition of communist, cryptocommunist, and semi-communist parties and a vast crowd of useful idiots. However, at the same time, communism failed to conquer public opinion. Its leaders’ persuasive power and capacity for revolutionary leadership waned within and outside the confines of the Soviet Union. Would communist leaders try adventurous, risky moves as their usual methods of action and recruitment had failed, and thus compromise the advance of their agenda?

Third Revolution leaders quit threatening and assaulting at the height of their power and started smiling and canvassing. They abandoned the straight and short path and chose a zigzagging one filled with uncertainties.

They placed their best hopes in revolutionary psychological warfare, switching from physical violence to psychological moves. Their weapons now were smiles. Their goal: stealthily achieving by stages, in people’s souls, the conquest they failed to obtain through violent classical methods.

These methods have nothing to do with journalistic soap operas called “mind conquest,” “brainwashing,” etc. They were not seeking to undertake a few sporadic intellectual operations but an absolute and total war psychological war of conquest by targeting humans worldwide.

One cannot describe revolutionary psychological warfare without accurately analyzing its development in the very soul of the West—Christianity—and more precisely, the Catholic Religion, Christianity in absolute fullness and unique authenticity.

The Second Vatican Council’s mysterious, bewildering, astonishing, apocalyptic, and tragic silence concerning communism was the major success smiling post-Stalinian communism achieved from the standpoint of Revolution and Counter-Revolution.

Events show that Vatican II was one of the greatest—if not the greatest—calamities in Church history. In the wake of Vatican II, the “smoke of Satan”[3] relentlessly entered the Church in unthinkable proportions with the terrible force of expanding gases. The Mystical Body of Christ engaged in the sinister “self-demolition” process of which Paul VI spoke to the scandal of countless souls.[4]

On several occasions, John Paul II referred to modern world problems related to the storm raging over the Holy Church. Many of these problems, the pope stated, include the spread of “real heresies in the dogmatic and moral field, creating doubts, confusion, and rebellions.”[5]

So was the Third Revolution’s outlook shortly before the 20th anniversary of the publication of Revolution and Counter-revolution.

However, this panorama would not be complete without addressing the ongoing internal transformation within the Third Revolution: the aborning Fourth Revolution.

As is well known, neither Marx nor his most notorious followers saw the dictatorship of the proletariat as the last stage of the revolutionary process. In their evolutionist mythology, as evolution will keep developing to infinity, so will Revolution. The First Revolution gave rise to two others. In turn, the Third Revolution will generate another, and so on.

From a Marxist perspective, one can foresee what the Fourth Revolution will resemble. According to Marxist theoreticians, a new crisis would cause a hypertrophied state to become a victim of its own hypertrophy, overthrowing the dictatorship of the proletariat. The state will disappear and give rise to a scientific and cooperative state of affairs in which—communists say—humanity will reach a hitherto unimagined degree of liberty, equality, and fraternity.

How will that happen? Perhaps the answer is the tribal society structuralist currents dream of. Structuralists see tribal life as a synthesis between the height of individual freedom and consensual collectivism. That is an illusion because collectivism ultimately devours freedom. They say that collectivism will dissolve individual personalities with conflictive opinions, wills, and ways of being and merge them into a tribal, collective personality with intense group thinking, willingness, and lifestyle.

Part Three of Revolution and Counter-revolution closes with considerations of the nascent Fourth Revolution.

Communism Metamorphoses Into Self-managing Society

Events extraordinarily confirmed the prognoses in Part Three of Revolution and Counter-revolution as the 1980s ended.

Unable to hide its clamorous economic failure and inhumane curtailment of legitimate freedoms, Soviet leaders chose to admit it before the world. After the spectacular geopolitical upheavals that followed the liberalizing glasnost (1985) and perestroika (1986) programs set in motion by Gorbachev (1989-1991), the Soviet regime crumbled. It has since seemingly evolved into a model less distant from the West’s.

This transformation posed a new strategic problem for non-communists because it seemed to contain an appeal: Just as the iron-clad communist structure has dissolved, the West must become less rigid in enforcing the principles of private property and free enterprise and take decisive steps toward socialism. East and West would thus converge on a middling point (not halfway but possibly much closer to communism than capitalism) and find a definitive solution for world peace.

How many in the West have been seduced by this prospect? How many are inclined to say: we’d better accept a more egalitarian regime with fewer civil rights and economic freedoms to prevent the situation in Russia from backtracking and communists from regaining power and bringing back to haunt us the specter of a nuclear holocaust from which we have miraculously escaped!

We answer that wars are punishments for the sins of humanity. Acceptance of an unnatural regime contrary to God’s Law, such as communism, even if mitigated, is a huge sin that can only bring ruin and unhappiness by inevitably producing evil effects.

In the face of the crumbling Soviet empire, astute minds in the West wonder whether all this is authentic and consistent enough to authorize solid hopes. Although many optimists eagerly welcome such deceptive hopes, prudence recommends great circumspection toward the enigmatic retraction of communism. It may be a metamorphosis to attain its ultimate goal—a self-managing society.

As Gorbachev honestly warned in his propaganda essay Perestroika – New Ideas for My Country and the World, “The purpose of this reform is to ensure …. transition from an excessively centralized management system dependent on superior orders to a democratic system based on the combination of democratic centralism and self-management.”[6] Moreover, as the Constitution of the former USSR established in its preamble, self-management was “the supreme objective of the Soviet State.”

The updated edition of Revolution and Counter-Revolution, published in 1992, thoroughly explains all these considerations;[7] other updated editions followed in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Spain (1992), the United States (1993), Brazil (1993), Peru (1994), and Romania (1995).

ARQC Saved Brazil from the Disgrace of Agricultural Collapse

Let us mention a few counter-revolutionary achievements of the TFPs in their respective countries.

In 1960, agitation about land reform was boiling in Brazil, though almost exclusively in urban areas. A cleverly orchestrated propaganda tried to make people in big cities believe our rural world was about to explode because of farmworker discontent. They claimed a Land Reform program was needed to avoid a revolt among rural masses and prevent a catastrophe. That reform would involve expropriating large unproductive properties at a vile price to distribute land to small farmers.

Land-reform advocates, relentlessly egalitarian, sought to increasingly eliminate all large and medium-sized properties and turn the Brazilian rural structure into a vast array of small family-sized properties.

At this point, to frustrate the leftist maneuver, we published a far-reaching book that demanded teamwork: Agrarian Reform – A Question of Conscience. I wrote Part One of the book and submitted it to the consideration of two illustrious prelates, Most Rev. Antonio de Castro Mayer, then Bishop of Campos, and Most Rev. Geraldo de Proença Sigaud, Bishop of Jacarezinho and later Archbishop of Diamantina, to revise the text from a theological point of view. The economist Luiz Mendonça de Freitas wrote Part Two of a technical nature.[8]

The work was very well received in rural circles and applauded by governors, state and federal members of Congress, senators, and hundreds of mayors, city councils, and professional entities.

In 1964 the same authors published the Morro Alto Declaration, a positive land reform program.[9]

These two works openly and vigorously defended the principle of private property, craftily denied by socialist and confiscatory land reformers. They also affirmed the social function of private property to correct abuse in our rural situation.

Agrarian Reform—A Question of Conscience stirred controversy and alerted public opinion to the real goals of the structural reforms advocated by leftist currents. It thus contributed to forming the ideological and psychological climate that frustrated President João Goulart’s plans to impose a republic run by leftist labor unions.

We undeniably owe this publication the fact that Brazil did not suffer a disgraceful disintegration of its agrarian structure into a magma of tiny, unproductive properties.

The Church and the Communist State: The Impossible Coexistence is praised in a letter from a Holy See Congregation

Undoubtedly, my most disseminated work is, The Freedom of the Church in the Communist State, which lately has been published as The Church and the Communist State: The Impossible Coexistence.[10] In addition to its many international editions, forty newspapers and magazines in Brazil, Angola, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Portugal, Spain, the United States, and Brazil transcribed the work.

The Holy See’s Sacred Congregation for Seminaries and Universities sent a letter praising the work, dated December 2, 1964, and signed by Cardinals Pizzardo and Staffa.

This study also reverberated beyond the Iron Curtain. Poland’s Catholic-leftist weekly Kierunki and the monthly Zycie i Mysl attacked it violently. Zbigniew Czajkowski, a collaborator of these two periodicals, published extensive and indignant articles against my essay. I replied through the pages of Catolicismo. In the ensuing polemic, the Parisian periodical L’Homme Nouveau intervened to support my work through its staff writer Henri Carton. For its part, Témoignage Chrétien, a virulent French communist-progressive mouthpiece, sided with Mr. Czajkowski.

Like Agrarian Reform—A Question of Conscience, The Impossible Coexistence was based on a concrete problem to counter the astutely propagated idea being spread among Catholics that curtailing freedom of worship was the only obstacle preventing them from accepting a communist regime. Taking advantage of this severely incomplete notion, Marxists pretended to respect Church freedom to have Catholics support a hypothetical communist regime supposedly granting complete freedom to the various religions.

This propaganda maneuver would bring invaluable benefits to the communist agenda as it influenced the Catholic masses, weakening opposition to communism among the then 800 million Catholics worldwide.

With this essay, in 1963, I tried to frustrate that maneuver by showing that the communist regime necessarily eliminates or severely mutilates the institution of private property and runs counter to Church doctrine. To be faithful to her mission, the Church must combat such a regime even if it entirely recognizes freedom of worship. That combat would inevitably pit Catholics against any communist state.

Unperceived Ideological Transshipment and Dialogue denounces a psychological maneuver to weaken Catholic ideological resistance.

Unperceived Ideological Transshipment and Dialogue also drew worldwide repercussions.[11]

This essay shows how communists use dialogue to weaken the ideological resistance of opponents, especially Catholics, surreptitiously. The matter is too subtle and extensive to summarize here. One of its most critical practical observations: Rather than having Catholics renounce their faith outright, communists want them to accept a relativistic and evolutionist interpretation of Catholic doctrine. For this purpose, they employ the dialogue technique and thus corrupt people’s faith, which demands certainty incompatible with the state of doubt inherent in relativism and evolutionism. Having achieved this result, communist ideologues induce Catholics to hope for a ‘dialoguing’ synthesis with the left that can ultimately lead to communism in sheep’s clothing.

The Church Facing the Escalating Communist Threat—An Appeal to the Silent Bishops

In 1976, I published a book titled The Church Facing the Escalating Communist Threat—An Appeal to the Silent Bishops.[12] It is a doctrinal analysis of Brazil’s ecclesiastical hierarchy’s radically leftist positions, for example, the openly pro-communist preaching of Most Rev. Pedro Casaldáliga, Bishop of São Félix do Araguaia.

In the book, I show how our nation’s bishops, fierce opponents of Marxism until the late 1940s, underwent a vast transformation. Around that time, the episcopate began rotating to the left. The new orientation gained momentum in 1952 with the formation of CNBB (the National Conference of Brazilian Bishops) and Bishop Helder Câmara’s election as its first secretary-general. This rotation produced demonstrator priests, nuns in miniskirts, and leftist Catholic leaders supporting communist agitation.

After 1964, communists were purged from many Brazilian institutions but not from Catholic circles, where they took refuge. Thus protected, they grew so much that more than one bishop—by action or omission—became a valuable support to those striving to impose communism in Brazil.

I ardently appealed to the “silent bishops” in the book to speak out. They were numerous and had enough prestige to save Brazil if they only spread the multiple papal documents on the issue among the faithful.

In parallel to the bishops’ sad evolution, I showed how a group of faithful Catholics had been waging a strictly doctrinal and legal struggle to defend the Church and Christian civilization. They initially gathered around the weekly Catholic paper Legionário, later around the monthly Catolicismo, and now form the Brazilian Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property—TFP.

I published this work as an introductory study to a summary of the best-seller The Church of Silence in  Chile—The TFP Proclaims the Whole Truth, which the Chilean TFP published in January 1976. Between the two works, there is a close affinity resulting from the similar situations in Brazil and Chile concerning the activities of the ecclesiastic hierarchy. In Chile, even more clearly than in Brazil, most bishops (and not only sectors of the episcopate, as in Brazil) worked to impose communism on the country, a fact which their book proves with abundant documentation. Thus, they paved the way for the rise of Frei, the Chilean Kerensky,[13] and later Salvador Allende to the presidency. It also showed the bishops’ support of Allende during his nefarious government and their efforts to return the country to communist claws after he fell.

In 1978 this whole process underwent significant transformations as John Paul II ascended to the papal throne, and this overall picture required considerable adjustments.

Indigenous Tribalism, the Communist-Missionary Ideal for Brazil in the Twenty-First Century

For the structuralist current, whose greatest exponent was the philosopher Lévy Strauss, indigenous society is closest to the human ideal because it “resisted history.” According to this philosophical current, we must return to this pre-neolithic way of life.

Suppose it is astonishing for atheist philosophers to defend such absurd theses. In that case, it should be even more impressive for Catholic missionaries to propose indigenous savages as ideal role models and the tribe as the perfect model of human society.

Yet, that is exactly what is happening. A new missiological current with free transit in ecclesiastical circles maintains that the current civilization must disappear to make way for tribal life. Institutions such as private property, the monogamous family, and indissoluble marriage must be eliminated. The classical figure of missionaries as evangelizers and civilizers, such as Fathers José de Anchieta and Manoel da Nóbrega—must be abandoned. The new missiological current wants neither to civilize nor to catechize.

If new missionaries praised the system of collective property imposed in communist countries, they would inevitably face criticism and uncomfortable refutations. To avoid this sensitive subject, they praise tribal life’s community of goods and the non-existence of profit, capital, wages, bosses and employees, “privileged” and “marginalized,” “oppressors” and “oppressed,” and attack the principle of private property in force in civilized nations of the West.

This tactic’s substantial effect is that the new missionary’s lavish praise of collective property in indigenous tribes has failed to draw the reaction that a direct defense of communist societies behind the Iron Curtain would certainly arouse.

However, there is no doubt that this idyllic vision of savages that new missionaries present as ideal for twenty-first-century man reflects a communist society.

The biggest problem this erroneous ideology poses is neither with the missionaries nor indigenous people; it is to know how this philosophy can be spread with impunity in the Holy Catholic Church, intoxicating seminaries, deforming missionaries, and denaturing missions—all with the strong support from certain church circles.

At the end of 1977, I published Indigenous Tribalism, the Communist-Missionary Ideal for Brazil in the Twenty-First Century, to make Brazilians aware of this unexpected facet of the crisis in the Church.

It was first published in Catolicismo (No. 323/324, November-December 1977). In December of the same year, Editora Vera Cruz released its first edition in book form and six later editions totaling 76,000 copies.

Catholics Can and Should Oppose Land Reform  

The CNBB (Brazilian Catholic Bishops’ Conference) is an official organ of the Brazilian Episcopate, and so Catholics should normally receive its pronouncements as representing the thinking of the Church.

Therefore, the document published at the end of their 1980 plenary meeting in Itaicy could not fail to cause the greatest perplexity among the faithful. Titled “Church and Land Issues” (IPT), it is a genuine pro-land reform manifesto in which CNBB launches a countrywide offensive against large and medium-sized rural properties. It even suggests that the government take concrete measures to start dividing private lands immediately.

This document created a severe question of conscience for farmers and all Catholics raised according to the traditional Church doctrine and all men of thought and action around the country. These three broad and important categories of Brazilians could understandably ask how valid the document’s harsh and explosive statements are—and what doctrinal authority they have.

TFP’s role was to break the silence and answer these questions, which it did through the book I Am a Catholic: Can I Oppose Land Reform? (1981, 360 pages, four editions, 29,000 copies). I wrote it with Prof. Carlos Patricio del Campo, Master of Science in Agrarian Economics from the University of California at Berkeley.

The book demonstrates that a Catholic must be faithful to the traditional teachings of the Church’s Supreme Magisterium. A close examination of the bishops’ document shows it is at variance with those teachings by advocating the Agrarian Reform program. As a consequence, Catholics against land reform have not only the right but also the duty to continue opposing it.

The book’s economic section proves the CNBB document has serious flaws when outlining the economic situation of Brazilian agriculture and advocating land reform as a “solution.” The document would be unacceptable from an economic standpoint even if it were not objectionable from Catholic doctrine’s strict point of view.

The Double Game of Self-Managing Socialism: Gradual in Strategy, Radical in Goal

This is the title of a broad exposition and critical analysis of the socialist program proposed by Francois Mitterrand, France’s newly-elected president. Starting in December 1981, this work of mine, endorsed and disseminated by the thirteen existing TFPs at the time, was printed in 45 major newspapers in 19 countries in the Americas, Europe, and Oceania. A substantial summary of it came out in 49 countries in thirteen languages. The document thus reached a total circulation of 33.5 million copies.

To gauge the scope of this study, it is well to consider that in the period preceding the first election of President François Mitterrand, the expression ‘self-managing socialism’ designated a worldwide propaganda campaign to spread that socialist brand and became fashionable in leftist circles.

Every intellectual wishing to be seen as up-to-date called himself a self-managing socialist.

As the words “socialism” and “socialist” showed signs of aging, their adepts tried to slow it by disguising it like a graying lady dyeing her hair. Trying to revitalize and rejuvenate their project, socialists gave it a new face called self-management.

Our denunciation of self-management socialism drew such worldwide repercussions that the words ‘self-management’ and ‘self-managed’ went out of fashion. The socialist propaganda ploy to make that project look new and spread it around the world was thus unmasked.

Since then, they’ve had only meager successes.

Worse, socialism’s aging process reached the point where its own leaders and supporters now declare it decrepit.

Here is a summary chronicle of events following the publication of that manifesto:

1. On December 12, 1981 (three days after its publication), the International Herald Tribune, a prestigious English-language daily published in Paris by The New York Times and The Washington Post, thus described the French Socialist government’s reaction to our analysis of the Socialist Project for France in the 1980s:

“In Paris, authorized government sources said they were unprepared to react to this publication but were studying it. ‘There’s absolutely no panic, and we are far more interested in who or what is behind this publication,’ an Elysée spokesman said Thursday. He added there could be some reaction ‘later.’” There was none.

  1. It is worth remembering what the Socialist Plan for France in the 1980s said: “There cannot be a Socialist Plan for France alone. The dilemma’ liberty or serfdom,’ ‘socialism or barbarism’ goes beyond our country’s borders. . . Socialism is international by nature and vocation … France is either a collective aspiration or it simply is not … There are immense possibilities for a country like ours … to carry far and wide the universal message of socialism in Europe and throughout the world.”[14]

    Note also that old-school socialists were proud of their Marxist affiliation. In 1980, former Prime Minister Pierre Mauroy wrote: “We remain faithful to the spirit of Marxism.”[15]

    3. In December 1991, after ten years of failed attempts by the socialist government to implement its radical 1981 program, the French Socialist Party replaced it with the innocuous “New Horizons” at an extraordinary congress at La Défense.

    The new program reads: “In fact, the working classes’ impoverishment predicted by some Marxist analysis has not occurred. France’s standard of living quadrupled between 1950 and 1990 … It is no longer a question, as was the case with the old-fashioned self-management [sic!], of eliminating and replacing entrepreneurs with leaders appointed by the state or elected by grassroots … Employee representatives should not replace bosses in company management … The market’s strength is irreplaceable … all attempts to replace it have ultimately failed … Socialism calls for and wants another organization of the planet but must develop in the context of globalized capitalism.”[16]

    4. In October 1992, the French Housing Minister, Marie-Noèlle Lienemann, declared: “The Socialist Party is over. We have to create a new structure, a new party.”[17]

    Such statements are a genuine death certificate for the French socialists’ self-management dream.[18]

    The Basic Christian Communities, a Tool of the Catholic Left to Socialize Brazil

    A current known as “liberation theology,” set in motion by the theologians Gustavo Gutiérrez and Hugo Assmann, and promoted by the Latin American Bishops’ Conference at Medellin in 1968, has spread widely in theological circles worldwide. Its adepts try to use the Sacred Scriptures to justify closely linked errors propagated by two distinct doctrinal currents. The first is progressivism in Theology, Philosophy, and Morals, with consequent reflections on scholars of Canon Law, Ecclesiastical History, etc. The second is leftism in the field of Catholic sociology with reflections in the study of Economics and Politics under Catholic influence and on the life, thought, and action of political currents such as the so-called Christian Democrats, Christian Socialists, Catholic Socialists, etc.

    In his 1979 Puebla Allocution, John Paul II condemned many aspects of liberation theology. However, it continued spreading quietly all over Brazil.

    To advance their agenda, progressives need an organization that concretely provides a unity of goals and methods to clergy and faithful engaged in reforming Brazil into a socialist state.

    They established Basic Christian Communities for that purpose.

    To warn Brazilians against this threat, brothers Gustavo Antonio Solimeo and Luiz Sérgio Solimeo and I wrote a book titled The BCCs—Much Talked About But Little Known—the TFP Describes Them as They Are.

    In Part One, I show how the BCCs are an instrument of the Catholic Left to sow discontent in the population (especially among manual workers), then turn discontent into agitation and force the government to implement a threefold reform: Land, Urban, and Corporate Reform, most likely to establish a socialist self-managing regime in Brazil.

    Part Two of the work informs the Brazilian public about the reality of the BCCs—the doctrine they disseminate, their organization, methods for recruiting adherents, and having them act on the whole social body. To this end, the authors of this section gathered data from BCC writings, defining themselves to their adherents and the public. They completed that information with news items from newspapers and magazines entirely beyond suspicion of distorting facts to the detriment of BCCs.

    TFP members and volunteers have spread the book all over Brazil since August 1982. Their caravans visited 1,510 and sold six editions of the book totaling 72,000 copies.

    Private Property and Free Enterprise in the Land Reform Typhoon

    In Brazil, with the unexpected illness and death of president-elect Tancredo Neves, and the ascension to the presidency of Mr. José Sarney on March 15, 1985, the New Republic was inaugurated. The new government intended to implement the Agrarian Reform that was stuck since the Land Statute promulgated by the Castelo Branco administration in November 1964.

    At the same time, a rash of invasions of private properties began across the country. Invaders sought to make it look as if Catholic doctrine justified their actions.

As the country entered a great controversy over doctrinal, technical, and other matters, deeply marking the New Republic’s performance, I published the book Private Property and Free Enterprise in the Land Reform Typhoon. In it, I analyze the government’s National Land Reform Plan (PNRA), item by item. It severely attacked private property and free enterprise and their respective social functions. As usual, to defend them, I based myself on the teachings of the Supreme Magisterium of the Church.

On a countrywide campaign to enlighten public opinion about the planned land reform, 52 tandems and four caravans of TFP members and volunteers went through 694 cities in 19 States of the Federation. They sold two editions of the book totaling 16,000 copies and 30,000 copies of a special issue of Catolicismo (Nos. 415-416, July-August 1985), containing excerpts from the book.

TFP volunteers contacted over ten thousand farmers across Brazil in this epic campaign.

Warriors of the Virgin: TFP Without Secrets—The Reply of Authenticity

I would fail to adequately describe my whole fight against the Revolution without mentioning the counter-offensive of our adversaries following every significant move in that struggle.

Since a detailed narration of those counter-offensives would overly lengthen this philosophical self-portrait, I will only give a typical example.

Only eight days after it moved against the land reform juggernaut, the TFP was the target of a media uproar on a matter unrelated to the controversy. The daily O Estado de S. Paulo published a full-page article titled “Warriors of the Virgin, TFP Slaves.”

A flashy daily announcement during the week preceded the report.

Echoing O Estado de S. Paulo, 29 other newspapers and magazines across the country published articles with the same content.

All the fuss was about the book, Warriors of the Virgin—TFP’s Secret Life, sold in bookstores in São Paulo and other cities. Its author, Mr. José Antonio Pedriali, a former volunteer of the entity, was then a journalist with O Estado de S. Paulo.

Summing up Mr. JAP’s lengthy accusations, the TFP would be an initiatory sect that brainwashed and hurt its members and volunteers.

He made such grave accusations with a seemingly natural and almost smiling tone. The book contains such crudely immoral and obscene descriptions of its author’s behavior upon his dismissal from TFP that it could be part of the abundant pornographic literature available nationwide.

All this emerged when the TFP rose anew against the socialist and confiscatory land reform plan. The media uproar was apparently intended to give a new image of the TFP. From its foundation, the Brazilian people have known it as a stalwart, relentless, and heroic organization against communism. They now sought to depict it as an obscure sect and present its members and volunteers’ gigantic anticommunist efforts as hoaxes.

Despite the overwhelming propaganda that preceded and followed the release of this book, it did not even remotely have the effect its author and publisher expected.

“All that becomes exaggerated is insignificant,” stated Talleyrand. Mr. J.A. Pedrsiali’s irrational and obviously fake accusations were reduced to their well-deserved insignificance.

The TFP answers those accusations in my book, Warriors of the Virgin: TFP Without Secrets—The Reply of Authenticity (Vera Cruz Publishers, São Paulo, 1985, 333 pages). In it, I show how some people manipulate the word ‘sect’ to denigrate entities like the TFP, which raise obstacles to the revolutionary process. I also show how ‘brainwashing’ is a journalistic expression that scientists of good standing do not take seriously.

As usual, the TFP’s answer only met the silence of its opponents, who found nothing to reply.

Time and again, TFP battles, in which I am personally involved, are characterized by this ritornello: 1. our campaign is followed by a counter-offensive of our opponents on a point extrinsic to its topic; 2. the TFP refutes their accusations, and they keep silent; 3. Some time (even years) later, the adversaries return with their initial accusations as if nothing had been refuted!

A Twenty-five-Year Struggle Against Confiscatory Socialism

The New Republic continued its inglorious effort to impose confiscatory land reform on Brazil. Always attentive, the TFP closely followed the government’s every move.

In 1986, at my request, Carlos Patricio del Campo, a well-known Master of Science in agricultural economics and member of the Brazilian TFP, wrote the book, Is Brazil Sliding Toward the Extreme Left? Notes on the Land Reform Program in South America’s Largest and Most Populous Country. The work, which the  American TFP launched in Washington, DC, in October 1986, was well-received by US decision-makers, including first and second-rank members of the US Government, US senators and congressmen, US ambassadors, representatives of international banks headquartered in the United States, hundreds of conservative intellectuals, Brazilianists, and 1,100 journalists.

The work presents a penetrating analysis of Brazil’s socio-economic reality solidly based on reliable statistics, depriving the hunger-and-misery demagogues of their untenable argumentation to impose a socialist and confiscatory land reform on Brazil.

In its preface, I describe the real Brazil in quick brushstrokes, starkly contrasting the deeply pessimistic and biased picture presented by leftist propaganda abroad [click here to read the preface].

Meanwhile, the TFP was readying a new campaign in Brazil to publish my book; Land Reform Takes Misery to City and Countryside—the TFP Informs, Analyzes, and Alerts (Editora Vera Cruz, São Paulo, 64 pp.). In it, I balance twenty-five years of struggle against confiscatory socialism and urge farmers and rural producers not to be deceived by the old socialist slogan – give in some, not to lose all. Their irresolution, I warned, was the first condition for the socialist onslaught to be successful.

The work went through four editions totaling 55,000 copies, which TFP volunteers sold directly to the public in street campaigns.

A Socialist Constitution Unwanted by a Majority of the Population

Since the direct democracy model in force in ancient Greek city-states is impracticable today due to larger populations and territories, they exercise indirect or representative democracy.

Thus, the citizens elect representatives who vote laws and direct the state according to their voter’s intentions.

Essentially, the relationship between voters and their candidates is that of a power of attorney. The voter gives a candidate for congressman or senator a mandate to exercise legislative power according to the program presented to the public during the electoral campaign.

The same applies to presidential elections.

Consequently, the authenticity of a democratic regime rests entirely on the authenticity of representation.

If it is government by the people, democracy is authentic only if authorities (executive and legislative) are chosen and behave according to methods and goals desired by the people.

If that does not happen, the democratic regime will be nothing more than an empty shell or fraud.

Brazilians faced this acute problem as they went to the polls on November 15, 1986, to elect congress members to form a National Constituent Assembly.

Once the elections were over, it was necessary to study the newly-elected Constituent Assembly’s representativeness and check the Projected Constitution they were preparing.

The result of that study was the book Draft Constitution Anguishes the Country, which I finished in October 1987. It was offered to all Constituents to help prevent a divorce between the new constitutional text and the majority thinking of the nation with a predictably disastrous outcome.

In Part One of this work, I analyze an election’s requirements to be representative. I distinguish between professional politicians and politician-professionals, showing how the latter’s entrance into public life would enrich the country’s political scene, as they were authentic representatives of various professions and fields of activity.

I believe this would bring back estranged voters (the percentage of abstentions, blank and null votes was surprising) and remedy the Constituent Assembly’s lack of representativeness resulting from the election-without-ideas of 1986 (Part Two).

Add to this congenital lack of representativity the Assembly’s tumultuous and anomalous functioning with a string of false notes: 1. Plenary Assembly members were less conservative than their electorate; 2. Thematic commissions on specific issues were more leftist than the Assembly; 3. the Systematization Commission (which coordinated the work prepared by the thematic commissions) contained the largest concentration of leftists in the Assembly. Thus, an active, organized, and bold leftist minority threatened to drag the country in directions undesired by most of the population (Part Three).

In Part Four, I analyze the Draft Constitution, then submitted for debate in the plenary, and show how they were taking great leaps toward socializing Brazil primarily by destroying the family and curtailing private property.

The book closes with a concrete proposal: First, one should vote on a Constitution establishing a political organization about which it would be easy to reach a consensus in the current conditions of Brazilian public opinion. Once the constituents approved it, they would submit that part to a popular referendum. In the second stage, after ample work to enlighten the population on socio-economic matters that cause deep division, one would prepare a supplement and submit it to a referendum. That would give the population the broadest possible window of opportunity to express themselves, and the Constituent would play the noble role of consulting the people to know their will concerning those sensitive points.

During five months, TFP members and volunteers spread the work through more than 240 cities in 18 states of the Federation, selling the entire 73,000 copy edition.

In São Paulo, during nineteen days of intensive diffusion, the campaign attained a record average of 1,083 copies sold daily.

Some more conservative members of the Constituent Assembly finally started reacting but lacked the necessary impetus and determination to reverse the process. Brazil was given a Constitution that would subsequently create all kinds of obstacles to its governability.

Nobility and Analogous Traditional Elites in the Allocutions of Pius XII

Our elites’ gradual deterioration is one of the most severe aspects of the present Brazilian crisis. This phenomenon has seen growing intensity since the end of the 19th century without calling the due attention of our carefree, good-natured, and optimistic Brazilians. And it has brought us to this terrible end of the century.

There is no lack of intelligent suggestions to implement in any sector needing honesty, competence, and order. But the big question immediately arises: how to assemble a morally and intellectually capable team in each field? We have no lack of intelligent and even brilliant people. Unfortunately, we constantly face the embarrassing realization that our most significant lack is in the moral field.

Why don’t we have those teams? Because we don’t have the necessary elites. There is no lack of morally reliable and competent people where there are elites. Where you have no elites, people of real value are rare, little known, and bound to vegetate anonymously in a crowd of mediocre or crooks.

The memorable Pontiff Pius XII (1939-1958) probably foresaw that sooner or later, the modern world’s moral conditions would bring nearly every country to this situation, throwing humanity into a crisis of unpredictable consequences. Thus, during his pontificate, he made fourteen crucial allocutions appealing to countries with noble traditions to preserve their respective aristocracies carefully. He also called for affording new elites rising in the cultural and productive fields favorable conditions to form authentic elites similar to the nobility in moral and cultural formation and their capacity to lead. Like the nobility, they should create genuine elites capable of producing excellent people in the most varied fields.

Pius XII’s appeal almost fell flat in Brazil, drawing only a few repercussions elsewhere. Thus, it is urgent to find a remedy for the lack of elites, which is a tragic problem for us and a severe one for other nations.

To help find a solution to this critical problem, I wrote the book, Nobility and Analogous Traditional Elites in the Allocutions of Pius XII to the Roman Nobility and Patriciate, analyzing the situation of the contemporary world in the light of Pius XII’s fourteen allocutions.

The work’s first Portuguese edition was entrusted to Portugal’s notable publisher Editora Civilização, and came out in April 1993. Spain’s Fernando II El Santo publishing house published a Spanish translation covering Spanish territory and Spanish-speaking nations in the Americas.

In the United States, the work was published by Hamilton Press and launched at Washington’s prestigious Mayflower Hotel in September 1993. On that occasion, highly relevant personalities in American public life spoke to an audience of 850 guests, including the Archduchess Monica of Austria and the Duke of Maqueda, Grand Duke of Spain.

In France, published by Albatros, the book found wide acceptance in broad sectors of the public.

It was published by Editora Marzorati in Italy and presented at the Congress of European Nobility held in Milan in October 1993. A well-attended official launching session was held at Circolo della Stampa in Milan’s Seberlloni Palace.

The Rome launching took place at the historic palace of Princess Elvina Pallavicini, with the presence of Alsons Cardinal Stickler, Most Rev. Cândido Alvim Pereira, Archbishop Emeritus of Lourenço Marques, Archduke Martin of Austria, princes, princesses and countless other members of the highest Italian aristocracy.

In these various events, distinguished lecturers accurately analyzed and vividly praised the work.

The Roman press gave great prominence to the event. Il Tempo (10-31-93) presented it as “the estates general of black-robe aristocracy” (as the most traditional part of the Roman nobility is known because, in solidarity with the Holy See, they refused to recognize Italy’s forced annexation of the Papal States).

While the book’s title may give some people the idea that it is merely of historical interest, these excellent repercussions show how relevant the topic remains.

Warm letters of support from Cardinals Silvio Oddi, Luigi Ciappi, Alfons M. Stickler, and Bernardino Echeverria, and theologians of worldwide renown such as Fathers Raimondo Spiazzi OP, Victorino Rodríguez OP, and Anastasio Gutiérrez CMFm attest to the work’s perfect consonance with papal teachings.

Studies, Analyses, and Public Pronouncements

My doctrinal action also developed through pronouncements published in the press, radio, and TV on most burning issues and by sending authorities studies and analyses on current affairs. I exercised some of these activities independently but more often on behalf of the TFP National Council, which I am honored to chair. Here are some examples.

* In December 1970, I published in the daily press a long and primarily doctrinal position paper titled “Analysis, Defense, and a Request for Dialogue,” defending the TFP from attacks by Cardinal Eugênio Sales, Primate of Brazil and Archbishop of Salvador. The document highlighted his leftist ideological affinities with Most Rev. Helder Câmara, Archbishop Emeritus of Recife.

* In 1972, I sent the then Minister of Justice, Prof. Alfredo Buzaid, an analysis of the Civil Code draft, pointing out its tendency to weaken family bonds and unjustifiable prejudice against property rights and favoring a collectivist conception of society.

* In April 1974, when the Vatican’s Ostpolitik reached its peak, causing a massive problem of conscience for most Catholics, who were anticommunist, I felt obliged to write a document – couched in a most reverent language—demonstrating how, based on Catholic doctrine, Catholics could and should legitimately resist the ongoing Vatican policy of détente with communist governments. This document, titled “The Vatican’s Policy of Detente with Communist Governments—Should the TFPs Stand Down? Or Should They Resist?” was published in the Brazilian and international press.[19]

A scene of the Vatican’s policy of detente with Fidel Castro, which psychologically demobilized Catholics concerning the communist danger.

* In February 1990, before the spectacular fall of the Berlin Wall, the Iron Curtain, and the ensuing political upheavals in the various countries of the communist block, I wrote a manifesto titled “Communism and Anticommunism on the Threshold of the Millennium’s Last Decade,” in which I analyze the Discontent (with a capital D) felt in those nations, which would soon bring about the crumbling of the Soviet empire. The various TFPs published the manifesto in 21 newspapers in eight countries in the Americas and Europe.

A true thinker must also be an observer of tangible everyday reality

As a journalist, I started my career in the weekly Legionário of the Marian Sodality of Saint Cecilia’s parish. It later became the unofficial mouthpiece of the Archdiocese of São Paulo. I have already said something about my work as director of this paper from 1933 to 1947.

In 1951, along with most other former Legionário writers, I started writing for the newly-founded Catolicismo monthly, which continues being published and thriving, with an average circulation of 15,000 copies and special issues in the tens of thousands.

In Catolicismo, I created and maintained for several years the section “Ambiances, Customs, Civilizations,” which many have pointed out as a rich and original expression of a productive intellectual school. It featured comparative analyses of historical monuments, characteristic physiognomies, works of art, and handicrafts, presented to the reader through photos. Based on the principles explained in Revolution and Counter-Revolution, this analysis intended to show how the highest principles of philosophy and religion can permeate everyday life even in its trivial aspects. Furthermore, one can affirm or deny these principles in subtle but effective ways in everyday life. Indeed, people’s souls are often shaped much more by the living principles permeating and soaking ambiances, customs, and civilizations than by the sometimes stereotyped and mummified theories estranged from reality and thought out in some isolated office or lying lethargically in some dusty library. Hence the thesis of “Ambiances, Customs, Civilizations” is that a true thinker must also be an analytical observer of the concrete and palpable everyday reality. A Catholic thinker also must try to modify that reality when it contradicts Catholic doctrine.

From 1968 to 1990, I collaborated as a syndicated columnist in the daily Folha de S. Paulo, analyzing current Brazilian and world problems from a doctrinal point of view. Those articles were featured in North and South American newspapers.

Being a traditional current of thought does not hinder one’s vision of reality

In my books and articles, I amply denounced the great exhaustion of Marxist communism and its leaders’ incapacity to thrill the crowds and seize power. They thus felt obliged to use tricks of revolutionary psychological warfare to get the Revolution out of its rut.

Subsequent events tragically demonstrated, before an astonished world, how valid were my assertions about the impressive wearing out of so-called orthodox communism. I emphasize this to show that a current of thought’s traditionalist character does not take away its view of reality. On the contrary, no lucid analysis of the present can disregard the tradition that permeates it and based on which – for or against – the future is structured.

I have intentionally used the expression current of thought because I believe that, even more than in my books and activity as a university professor and journalist, my thoughts and doctrinal work are reflected in a group of people dedicated to studies and action initially formed around Legionário, and later Catolicismo. Such is the intelligence, culture, and lucidity that distinguish my noble companions that the media would have made them known far and wide if they were socialists or communists. Yet they chose selflessly to bear the campaign of silence that relentlessly tries to stifle, in our days of supposed freedom, the voice of those who sing outside the choir of the universal Revolution.

I want to mention here the names of those whom Providence has called from this life: the vigorous polemicist, engineer José de Azeredo Santos; the university professor, Fernando Furquim de Almeida, author of great historical studies; the attorney, writer, and excellent editor, José Carlos Castilho de Andrade, under whose pen the articles in Catolicismo attained exceptional brilliance. Also emanated from this current of thought is the brilliant book I’ve already mentioned, Frei, the Chilean Kerensky, by Fábio Vidigal Xavier da Silveira, a book that Chilean political observers called “prophetic.”

TFP: Christian civilization’s essential values arouse enthusiasm and dedication

That hard core of scholars and activists formed the initial group of the Brazilian Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property. This Society is a precious instrument to spread all the works mentioned here and a public statement that tradition, family, and property, essential values of Christian civilization, can awaken boundless enthusiasm and dedication among today’s youth.

The TFP has courses, boarding houses, and headquarters in about thirty cities in various Brazilian states, staffed chiefly by young students who become dedicated volunteers, now numbering over 1,200.

TFP young members come from families from the most varied social classes. They range from representatives of the old imperial nobility, the old rural aristocracy of the First Republic, the Second Republic’s new capitalists in the industrial and banking world, to families of manual workers.

The TFP also counts on friends and supporters in the general public who are not members of the Society but adhere unrestrictedly to its principles and methods. They employ their free time to help spread TFP’s doctrines and ideals.

Their selfless and highly idealistic work has enabled the TFP to carry out a series of campaigns worth mentioning because they reflect the principles to which I have dedicated my life:

* In 1966, the Castelo Branco administration presented a draft Civil Code approving divorce. By keeping an average of four hundred signature collectors on the streets for fifty days, the TFP gathered 1,042,359 signatures against divorce. The government withdrew the projected code.

* In 1968, the TFP carried out a campaign collecting signatures all over Brazil, asking Paul VI to take measures against leftist infiltration in Catholic circles. The campaign was triggered by the infamous ‘Comblin document.’ The Belgian priest Joseph Comblin, protected by Archbishop Helder Câmara in Recife, preached scandalously subversive reforms. In only 58 days, 1.600.368 Brazilians signed the petition. The Argentine, Chilean, and Uruguayan TFPs carried out an analogous campaign due to problems arising in their respective countries. As a result, Paul VI was sent a total of 2,025,201 signatures.

* The following year, a special issue of Catolicismo denounced the so-called “Prophetic Groups” and IDO-C, organizations billeted in the Catholic Church to corrode and subvert it from within. During 70 days, nineteen caravans of young volunteers visited 514 Brazilian cities in twenty states and sold 165,000 copies of Catolicismo. On my initiative, during that campaign, the TFP launched the now well-known red cape with the golden rampant lion for use by its volunteers. During TFP campaigns, along with its standards, these capes have marked its image and the landscape of Brazilian cities.

*  In 1970, fifty of our cities watched a TFP campaign to spread a position paper I wrote titled The Whole Truth About the Chilean Elections. It strongly contributed to neutralizing the bad effect that communist propaganda tried to produce in Brazil when socialist Salvador Allende was elected president of Chile. On that occasion, our volunteers distributed 550,000 copies of the manifesto and made large-scale sales of the book Frei, the Chilean Kerensky.

* In December of that same year, the TFP held a public campaign in four of the country’s main capitals and collected large amounts of money, clothing, toys, and food to give to people experiencing poverty on Christmas. The collection’s product was given to charity associations for distribution.

* At the end of 1972 and the beginning of 1973, the TFP promoted a nationwide campaign to spread the timely and courageous Pastoral Letter on Cursillos in Christianity by Most Rev. Antonio de Castro Mayer.[20]  In it, the then Bishop of Campos warned Catholics of his diocese about dangerous doctrinal errors—including openness to Marxism—that affected many sectors of that movement. In four months, thirteen caravans with 120 volunteers traveled through 1,328 Brazilian cities and sold 93,000 copies of the Pastoral Letter.

* In 1974, TFP members and volunteers committed to helping the Blue Army of Our Lady of Fatima to promote a pilgrimage to Brazil of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima that had wept miraculously in New Orleans, USA, in 1972. The statue’s pilgrimages did incalculable good to souls in Brazil and abroad. More than 500,000 people flocked to venerate it throughout South America.

* In 1975, divorce two constitutional amendments brought divorce back to the agenda. This time, the TFP returned to the streets to spread the Pastoral Letter For Indissoluble Marriage by Most Rev. Antonio de Castro Mayer, Bishop of Campos. In just over a month, they sold over one hundred thousand copies of the Pastoral Letter; the divorce amendments were rejected.

* From May 1977, the Brazilian TFP and other TFPs from the Americans published in their respective periodicals and distributed tens of thousands of leaflets with a crucial study the American TFP delivered to the members of both Houses of Congress, the State Department and influential personalities in the United States. Titled “Human Rights in Latin America—Carter’s Democratic Utopianism Favors Communist Expansion.” [click here to read Portuguese summaries] The American TFP study notes that the Carter administration, “as if it were a kind of infallible Vatican determining the nature of civil liberties that all nations must accept, has granted itself the right to define a large number of controversial points dogmatically and with absolute validity for all peoples.”

“I feel in these guerrilla clothes as I might feel dressed as a priest,” declared Bishop Pedro Casaldáliga of São Félix de Araguaia, Brazil, amid frenzied applause at an event at São Paulo’s Pontifical Catholic University in the 1980s [more details here]

* Liberation theology leaders gathered in late February 1980 in Taboão da Serra, São Paulo. At night, BCCs held sessions to animate participants at the theater of the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo (TUCA). The night of February 28 was dedicated to Nicaragua’s Sandinista Revolution and strongly incited guerrilla warfare throughout Brazil and Latin America. Catolicismo obtained a session recording (available to anyone present) and published it with my comments in its July-August 1980 issue. TFP volunteer caravans spread the Catolicismo report all over Brazil (36,500 copies). The TFPs of Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Uruguay, and Spain reproduced my study about the ‘Sandinist Night’ in their respective countries, totaling 80,500 copies with the Brazilian edition.

* Consulted by rural landowners, professors Sílvio Rodrigues, from the Law School of the University of São Paulo, and Orlando Gomes, from the Law School of the Federal University of Bahia, affirm in well-reasoned opinions that farmers unassisted by public authorities have the right to defend themselves with armed force against gangs of rioters trying to invade their properties to occupy them illegally. Since January 1986, the TFP has widely disseminated the eminent jurisconsults’ legal opinions by publishing them in 87 newspapers from 76 cities in 21 states.

* During 130 days—from May to October 1990, TFPs and their local bureaux gathered 5,218,020 signatures in 26 countries for a petition pledging solidarity to Lithuania’s declaration of independence from the Soviet yoke. On December 4, 1990, an eleven-member delegation of the TFPs delivered the petition to the Lithuanian President, Vytautas Landsbergis. On the 6th, the delegates posed for a photograph in Moscow’s Red Square with the TFP standard and all members wearing their characteristic red capes. Supported by that definite manifestation of the free world—over five million signatures—on the 11th of the same month, the delegation delivered in the Kremlin offices a joint letter from TFP presidents to Mikhail Gorbachev, then-president of the USSR, formally asking that he remove all obstacles preventing Lithuania from attaining complete independence.

On December 6, in Moscow, TFPs’ delegation members stand in Red Square, flying their standard and wearing their characteristic red cape.

* Memorable TFP campaigns include spreading books I wrote and other works edited by the entity. Among those, it is worth pointing out the original collection titled Social Dialogues—booklets dealing with various topics on the communism-anticommunism issue as usually commented by ordinary people in home conversations and street meetings. In a terse but substantial fashion, the Social Dialogues placed within people’s reach, arguments to preempt the tricks of socialist and communist propaganda. The collection’s three booklets, edited in Brazil, are titled: 1. Is Private Property a Theft?; 2. Should We Work Only for the State?; 3. Is it Antisocial to Save for One’s Children? Successive editions of the booklets totaling one hundred thousand copies sold in Brazil.

* Other TFP activities:

* Publishing manifestos in newspapers and sending studies to authorities showing the tenancy law’s socializing aspects;

* Letter to President Castelo Branco advocating a press law that would combine the repression of abuses with fair and adequate freedom;

* Holding annual masses 1) for the souls of the victims that communism has been making since 1917 all over the world, and particularly in Brazil, through acts of terrorism; and 2) for the liberation of the peoples enslaved by the Red Sect;

* TFP students’ campaigns to alert university youths about the origin and leftist objectives of subversive student movements;

* Letter to the Minister of Justice against abortion;

* Systematic visits to hospitals to bring the comfort of Christian advice and material gifts to the sick, especially the poorest and most abandoned;

* Collecting clothing and food from wealthy donors and distributing it in poor neighborhoods.

It would be an endless proposition to chronicle everything the TFP has done regarding doctrinal diffusion and ideological combat here. Therefore, I have only mentioned the great campaigns the organization I founded and whose National Council I am honored to preside has carried out. They belong here because, even more than my philosophical portrait, they complete the image of the principles I defend.

In the field of ideas, there is not only the old and new but, above all, the true and perennial

Upon reading this philosophical portrait, many might object that all this is anachronistic and incapable of putting down roots in the real world.

The facts show otherwise. In the field of ideas, there is not only the old and the new, as evolutionists would like. There is also, and above all, the true, the good, the beautiful, and the perennial in irreconcilable opposition to error, evil, and crooked. And a significant sector of today’s youth not only remains responsive to the verum, bonum, and pulchrum but is firmly engaged in expanding them.

Perennial tradition is not death but life today and tomorrow. You could not explain in any other way the patent influence of the various TFPs among the youth of our young continent.

I intend to defend the past, help other living forces influence the present, and prepare for the future. I am sure that the principles to which I have consecrated my life are more relevant today than ever before and indicate the path the world will follow in the coming centuries.

The skeptics may smile, but their smile can never stop the victorious march of those who have faith.


[1] TFPs and related associations or bureaux exist in Brazil, South Africa, Germany, Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Spain, United States, Philippines, France, Italy, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, United Kingdom (England and Scotland), and Uruguay.

[2] The edition of Revolution and Counter-Revolution posted on this site incorporates this third part.

[3] Cf. Paul VI’s allocution of June 29, 1972.

[4] Cf. Address of December 7, 1968.

[5] Address of February 6, 1981, in Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1981, vol. IV, 1, p. 235).

  1. Mikhail Gorbachev, Perestroika: New Thinking for Our Country and the World (New York, Harper & Row, 1987), p. 34.

[7] Part Three of Revolution and Counter-Revolution, with additional comments by the author, was published in Catolicismo, no. 500, August 1992.

[8] Agrarian Reform—A Question of Conscience went through ten editions in Brazil, Argentina, Spain, Colombia, totaling 41,000 copies.

[9] The Morro Alto Declaration went through two editions in Portuguese, totaling 32,500 copies with its publication in Catolicismo.

[10] This essay, initially titled The Freedom of the Church in the Communist State, was first published in 1963 and went through ten editions in Portuguese, eleven in Spanish, five in French, one in German, one in Hungarian, four in English, two in Italian, and two in Polish. These successive editions totaled 163,500 copies.

[11] First published in 1965, it went through thirteen editions, five in Portuguese, one in German, six in Spanish, two in Spain, one in Mexico, two in Chile, and one in Italian. It was transcribed in nine newspapers and magazines in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Spain, the United States, and Portugal, reaching 136,500 copies.

[12] The book was published in June 1976 and went through four editions totaling 51,000 copies. TFP members and volunteers sold them in 1,700 cities in 24 states of Brazil.

[13] On the communist activities of the former Chilean president Eduardo Frei and the Chilean Christian Democracy, see Frei, the Chilean Kerensky, by Fábio Vidigal Xavier da Silveira. First published in 1967 by Catolicismo (no. 178/179), it went through ten editions, two in Portuguese, seven in Spanish (three in Argentina, one in Colombia, one in Ecuador, and three in Venezuela), and one in Italian. The Caracas daily La Verdad transcribed it, and excerpts appeared in three other local newspapers. These editions totaled 128,800 copies.

[14] Cf. Projet socialiste pour la France des années 80, Club Socialiste du Livre, Paris, May 1981, pp. 18, 108, 126, 164).

[15] Cf. Documentation Socialiste, supplement no. 2).

[16] Cf. Michel Charzat, Un nouvel horizon, pp. 94, 96 and 97).

[17] Cf. Folha de S. Paulo,10-22-92).

[18] Readers wishing to know more about this document’s international effectiveness may consult the book Um homem, uma obra, uma gesta (A Man, A Work, a Saga) (pp. 286 to 297).

[19] The manifesto was published in 57 newspapers in eleven countries: Brazil, in 36 newspapers; Argentina, in La Nación of Buenos Aires and La Voz del Interior of Córdoba; Chile, La Tercera of Santiago, El Sur of Concepción, El Diario Austral of Temuco, La Prensa of Osorno; Uruguay, El País of Montevideo; Bolivia in El Diario of La Paz; Ecuador, El Comercio of Quito; Colombia, El Tiempo and El Espectador of Bogotá; Venezuela, El Universal, El Nacional, Ultimas Noticias, El Mundo and 2001 of Caracas; the United States, “The National Educator of Fullerton, California; Canada, Speek Up of Toronto; Spain, Hoja del Lunes and Fuerza Nueva, of Madrid, and Región, of Oviedo. It also came out in Catolicismo and in newspapers and magazines of TFPs and similar entities: Tradición, Familia, Propiedad, of Argentina; Fiducia, of Chile; Cristiandad, of Bolivia; Reconquista, of Ecuador; Cruzada, of Colombia; Covadonga, of Venezuela and Crusade for a Christian Civilization, of the United States.

[20] This document was written ten years before the prelate left the TFP.